Oxford Little Explorer front bike seat goes on sale

Long time Cycle Sprog followers with good memories may recall that one of my all time favourite things when the Sprogs were about 3 years and over was our Oxford Leco Top Tube seat.

Oxford Front Bike Seat

It was a brilliant set up for family cycling - the youngest Sprog could sit up front with me on my bike between my arms and we could chat away as we rode, whilst the eldest was behind on the tag-along. We got it when the Sprogs combined outgrew the weight limit for our trailer (or was it that my legs just couldn't cope with hauling them both behind me any more?!)

cycling 2 kids to school with tagalong and front seat

Several years ago Oxford discontinued the Leco, and the world was a slightly less happy place as a result. Then, last year at the Cycle Show at the NEC I met a guy from Oxford Products who told me a new, replacement seat was being designed.  I don't think he had expected someone to be quite so excited about this news - but then companies don't always realise how evangelical us parents can be when we find a product that really works for us.

Well folks, the brilliant news is that the replacement product is now available, and it's called the Oxford Little Explorer top tube mounted seat.

Oxford Little Explorer bike seat

The are three noticeable changes to the product.  Firstly, a support bar has been added, that fits between the seat on the top tube and the footrests on the down tube. This is to provide additional stability, and prevent the seat from coming loose and twisting round (not something we ever experienced).

Secondly, the back support has been removed.  I have to say that on our Leco I don't think this was ever of much use to my child, as he was always leaning forward to hold onto the handlebars, and was certainly in the way when I was riding the bike without him in it.  There were definitely risks with getting bruised by the metal if you landed on it, so in my opinion this is a good move by Oxford.  Here's a picture of the old Leco seat:

Oxford leco front bike seat

And here is the redesigned Little Explorer Seat

Finally, with the removal of the back rest, comes the removal of the waist strap. I'm guessing this strap was there more as a cautionary measure to make parents feel better than any real safety feature as this isn't a seat for young children who need to be strapped in. It's a seat for older kids who, if they weren't on this seat would be riding their own bikes or a taglong where they're not strapped in .

It's a big step in the history of the seat however, as some Cycle Sprog readers will remember the old cotton harness of their childhood!

Old Leco Bike seat with cotton harness

The footpegs on the Little Explorer look to be slightly redesigned. We ended up removing the fabric restraints on our Leco at the point the shoes got too big to fit, and this looks like this might still need to be done, but by that time your child should know not to move their feet off the pegs.

Obviously, every redesign comes at a price, and the Oxford Little Explorer now has an RRP of £49.99 which is quite a lot more than the price of the old Leco.  It's a pity, as this used to be a very cheap way for parents to try out commuting to nursery / school. However, at less than the cost of a full tank of petrol, the Little Explorer is still, to my mind, excellent value for money.

A couple of things to note about the Oxford Little Explorer Top Tube Bike Seat

The Oxford Little Explorer can be fitted to steel and aluminium framed bikes with a top tube (maximum width 50mm), so is not suitable if you're riding a carbon framed bike or a step through frame city bike.

It has a weight limit of 22kg, and your child must be able to sit up unaided and still whilst you're riding.  This makes it ideal for ages about 3 years through to 6 years.

You need enough space on your bike frame to fit the seat and get your arms round your child to still control your handlebars. This means that if you are very short and have short arms and a very small framed bike it may be less successful. I'm 5' 9" and it suited me perfectly. Here's a shot of the new seat in use, which illustrates the riding position really well.

Eventually you find you have to stop using the seat when your Cycle Sprogs head/helmet starts to obscure your view.  You can try moving the seat back towards to you bit (on the assumption that their arms and legs have also grown), but at some point you have to face the fact that you can't use it any more. I wrote about how this felt for me here (and I still get teary thinking about it - not many family cycling products have done that to me!!!)

Where to buy the Oxford Little Explorer Front Bike Seat

The Oxford Little Explorer Front Bike Seat has an RRP of £49.99 and is available from Amazon.

Oxford also have a small sized child's bike helmet, also called the Little Explorer, which is suitable for heads with a circumference of 46cm through to 53cm.

Affiliate disclosure:  Cycle Sprog is an affiliate of Amazon, so if you buy the Oxford Little Explorer seat through the links on this page we may get a very small commission. This is what helps us keep the website going. However, it doesn't affect what we write - I really did love this seat - so much so I couldn't bring myself to remove it from my bike for several years (just in case my Sprog shrunk!!!)

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  1. Alanna Gleave says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for writing this review. After reading it we bought a Little Explorer and we are completely delighted. I took my almost 3 year old daughter out for a 7 mile ride on it yesterday for the first time and she absolutely loved it. Thank you 😊

    • Karen says:

      So glad to hear you're enjoying the Little Explorer Alanna - hope you have loads of great rides out with it. Thanks for the feedback. Karen

  2. Kevin says:

    Dear Karen, the Little Explorer looks pleasingly simple which is what cycling ought to be about. I learnt all sorts of road sense whilst sitting on a seat like this in the early 1950s with my Dad explaining everything directly into one or other of my ear'oles. It's a pity it doesn't have a similarly old-fashioned price tag!

    I need a kiddie seat because I am about to start picking up my 4-year-old grandson from school a couple of times a week. The ride home is about two miles along a straight and level traffic-free ex-railway line which is now a leisure route.

    I have one question: is the height and horizontal angle of the Little Explorer variable, or is the seat always going to be parallel to the top tube and fixed directly to the tube itself without any vertical adjustment?

    Lots of modern bike frames have a top tube which is far from being horizontal and which is also quite close to the lower tube which might affect the spacing between the kiddie seat and the kiddie footrests.

    Best wishes, Kevin

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kevin,
      Great to hear from you - there's no substitute for learning road sense young is there! As a result of the seat we had my son can spot a bad driver instantly now.
      Regarding the new seat, as far as I'm aware, there is no vertical adjustment on the seat itself (there wasn't on the previous version we had). In this post here, we look at some alternatives - you might find something more suitable to the frame style you have. Alternatively, you could contact Oxford Products with your dimensions to see if the seat will be suitable for your frame. Hope you find a seat that fits. Thanks for getting in touch. Karen

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